Georgia's top two ethics investigators were preparing in June to serve subpoenas on Gov. Nathan Deal, his chief of staff and other associates in connection with Deal's 2010 campaign when one investigator's salary was cut and the other's job was eliminated, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Subpoenas were prepared, but never served, by the executive secretary of the state ethics commission and her deputy. The documents raise questions about $322,000 the campaign paid to companies that Deal owns or has an interest in, or to businesses controlled by his associates.
The commission's preliminary investigation found Deal's campaign may have exceeded limits on air travel expenses and political contributions, among other possible violations of campaign finance law, documents show. The governor's chief spokesman, Brian Robinson, said last week that some of the commission's inquiries stemmed from an activist's complaints that were “complete garbage” and were twisted by news coverage. “We were doing everything by the rules, but it was made to look like we weren't,” Robinson said. “The use of the word 'subpoena' in itself is inflammatory. It is meant to be used as a political hatchet because it paints a picture that is inaccurate.”